Small States in the CGPCS: Denmark, Working Group 2, and the End of the Debate on an International Piracy Court

Ulrik Trolle Smed, University of Copenhagen.

Denmark, a small state with an active foreign policy, hastily entered the arena of counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden in 2008 due to its major maritime interests. Not pre-pared to prosecute suspected pirates in Dan-ish courts, Denmark realized that it needed a multilateral framework to cope with the issue of an increasing ‘impunity problem’. The establishment of the CGPCS therefore came as a welcome initiative for Danish policymakers, and Denmark took up the responsibility of chairing its legal working group. Chairing working group two, the Danish government sought to weave together the existing mechanisms of national court systems with multinational naval forces in the region. Unable to ‘go-it-alone’, Denmark, a small state with limited resources, an active foreign policy and a major stake in the maritime industry, had been provided with a position to facilitate a multinational framework for solving its own problems, while simultaneously benefit-ting the international community. The paper outlines three core lessons: First, the comparative advantage of the international community is not necessarily to be the implementing party, but rather its ability to convey legitimacy to implementing partners; Second, the challenge of problem-solving does not always lie in establishing new mechanisms but in weaving together existing mechanisms, complimented by new ideas, in order to provide a new solution for a new problem; Third, in a globalized world, small states can act as effective leaders and facilitators on security issues on behalf of, and to the benefit of, the international community, given that they have the right resources, motivation and international support. Read the full paper here.

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